Health officials in Karnataka revised the discharge policy for COVID-19 patients on Tuesday. Asymptomatic COVID-19 patients and those with mild to moderate symptoms will be discharged at the end of their treatment without tests to confirm if they are no longer infected with the virus.
Until now, confirmatory tests to check whether patients had fully recovered from the infection were mandatory.
Karnataka's Health Secretary Jawaid Akhtar stated that COVID-19 patients with severe symptoms will undergo a mandatory test three days after complete clinical recovery. The same condition is applicable to patients with comorbidities.
The Indian Council for Medical Research (ICMR) had advised state governments in May to discharge patients after 10 days of getting the symptoms and if the patient does not report a fever for three days. However, officials in Karnataka wanted to be doubly sure and continued testing for the virus before discharging patients. This will now be discontinued.
The new guidelines however increased the time spent in hospitals by asymptomatic patients. While such patients were tested on the seventh day and sent home if found to be negative, it is now mandatory to stay in hospitals for ten days after the collection of their swabs.
Asymptomatic patients who do not have fever and maintain high blood oxygen saturation level and respiratory rate of less than 24 per minute will be discharged 10 days after the date of collecting their swabs. They will however be advised to quarantine themselves at home for 14 days.
COVID-19 patients with mild to moderate symptoms will be sent home if they exhibit the normal parameters for three days after the 10-day period has ended.
The Karnataka government had earlier approved the use of ashrams and stadiums in Bengaluru to treat COVID-19 patients. It also approved as many as 16 government facilities and several other private facilities in the city to treat COVID-19 patients. The state COVID-19 war room has projected that the number of cases in the state will increase over the next month.